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Baseball: Irish douse the Flames

By John Sandberg | Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sophomore right hander Matt Ternowchek was outstanding in his first start of the season Tuesday, shutting down Illinois-Chicago and leading No. 20 Notre Dame to a 6-2 win on a chilly opening day at Frank Eck Stadium.

Ternowchek, who entered Tuesday’s game with a 3-0 record and 1.86 ERA in eight relief appearances this season, made quick work of the Flames hitters throughout the early part of the game. After five innings, he had allowed one hit and walked none.

“The biggest thing you can do for your team as a pitcher in terms of keeping the pace of the game going is just throw strikes and get ahead,” Ternowchek said.

Notre Dame (16-9, 2-4 Big East) jumped out to an early lead in the first inning with some timely hitting out of the middle of their order. Junior first baseman Trey Mancini hit an RBI single and was followed by sophomore left fielder Ryan Bull, who added an RBI of his own. Sophomore designated hitter Blaise Lezynski followed suit, driving in Mancini and giving the Irish a 3-0 lead after one inning.

After adding runs in the third and fourth innings, Notre Dame led 5-0.

“It makes your job a lot easier when you can just go out there and let the guys hit it and just let your defense play behind you,” Ternowchek said about the early run support.

Illinois-Chicago (13-12, 3-3 Horizon League) strung some hits together to get on the board in the sixth inning. RBI doubles in the inning from Flames center fielder Ryan Shober and left fielder Tyler Detmer put two runs on the board, making the score 5-2 Notre Dame.

Ternowchek left the game after six innings pitched, having allowed two earned runs on four hits while walking none.

“It’s a little bit of a transition going from relief to starting, but I got a little bit of experience with that last year,” Ternowchek said. “I’ll do whatever my coaches ask me to do … whatever it takes to help my team win.”

Mancini added another RBI in the seventh inning, the 100th of his career, to make the game 6-2. He finished the day 4-for-4 with two RBIs.

Lezynski also wielded a hot bat for the Irish, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a double on the day.

Junior right hander Donnie Hissa provided three innings of solid relief for Notre Dame, giving up no runs on one hit and striking out one batter. Hissa recorded the save, his first this season.

Flames right hander Brian Evak took the loss, allowing nine hits and five runs while walking three Irish batters.

“It’s nice to get out here and get on our home field and get that first win,” Ternowchek said. “Hopefully we can keep this rolling.”

Notre Dame returns to action tonight at Frank Eck Stadium to take on Valparaiso at 5:35 p.m.

Contact John Sandberg at jsandbe1@nd.edu